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Tactics from Move One!

  • A Chess Player's Best Friend, Part 2: Check Your Discovered Checks!

    Last week we discussed one of the most powerful chess weapons: a discovered check. Today you can hone your tactical skills by solving our big test. These puzzles have many different tactical themes, but all of the combinations are based on discove... | Read More

  • A Chess Player's Best Friend

    Let me start today's article with a little brain teaser. What can every single chess piece (that is king, rook, bishop, knight or pawn) do that a queen can't? You'll find an answer to this question at the end of the article. Today we'll talk abo... | Read More

  • When a Loser Becomes a Winner, Part Two

    Any chess player who is familiar with the enormous heritage of the great Nimzowitsch should know his "Immortal Zugzwang Game." The last move of the game is a treat for a real chess connoisseur: In his book, Nimzowitsch expressed h... | Read More

  • When a Loser Becomes a Winner

    There are chess games that have their own names. Everyone knows the 'Evergreen Game', the 'Immortal Game', the 'Opera Game', etc. We enjoy the genius and tactical skills of the winners and their names are engraved in the Golden Book of Chess. But ... | Read More

  • Personal Mona Lisa of GM Isaac Kashdan

    As you might remember, in the "Personal Mona Lisa" series we analyze the best games played by strong chess players who as a rule are not that well known. Of course most of you probably heard about GM Isaac Kashdan thanks to his numerous books and ... | Read More

  • The Wooden Horse

    We have just entered 2014 which is the year of the Wooden Horse. It should be a lucky year for people who take care of their wooden horses on a daily basis. Of course I am talking about chess players. For the majority of people the Wooden Hor... | Read More

  • The New Year's Night's Dream

    Last week's column provoked a lot of comments. Most of you enjoyed the humorous puzzles, but some readers had different opinions. Some of them were quite interesting. Like one of the readers wrote: "Seems a bit silly to invent your world with its ... | Read More

  • Tactical Patterns Everyone Should Know: The Knight Kamikaze

    Most chess players discover this pattern thanks to the next notorious game (I give it as a puzzle, so you can try your tactical skills!) There is a strong evidence that the game is a fake and was never actually played but it is irrelevant fo... | Read More

  • Lasker's Bishop Chase

    The so-called Lasker variation of the Scandinavian Defense (a.k.a. Center Counter) arises after this sequence of moves: I was not able to find one single game where the second world champion played the variation named after him. My guess is... | Read More

  • Tactical Patterns Everyone Should Know: The Queen's Duel

    The pattern that we are going to discuss today is extremely common in the Sicilian Defense (the Dragon variation in particular). Therefore, if you play this opening for either color, you might want to memorize this useful tactical pattern. The r... | Read More

  • Tactical Patterns Everyone Should Know: The Crafty Queen

    The pattern of the Crafty Queen requires Qh3, Ne5 and a bishop on the diagonal b1-h7 (usually Bd3) for White, and the black king should be castled to the kingside. Superficially it looks like the white queen is only looking at a good opportunity t... | Read More

  • Tactical Patterns Everyone Should Know: Semi-Smothered Mate

    The combination we are going to discuss today happens mostly in openings. The key features of the pattern are: The opponent's king is surrounded by his own pieces that block all the escape squares except two. Your bishop covers two remaining ... | Read More

  • Tactical Patterns Everyone Should Know: The Siberian Trap

    What in the world is the Siberian Trap you might ask. Is it what Russians use in taiga to hunt the Siberian tiger? One of the World Heritage Sites, the Putorana Plateau, is composed of Siberian Traps | Image Wikipedia Well, if you ever tr... | Read More

  • Checkmate in one!

    Last week we discussed the game where Russian Super Grandmaster Evgeny Tomashevsky missed a checkmate in one. Of course that was a special situation where a draw was enough for him to win the match and qualify for the next round, but in general, h... | Read More

  • The Enigmatic Grandmaster

    Grandmaster Mark Paragua from the Philippines is not a household name. But he is a very strong and solid GM who can be a dangerous opponent for anyone. The next remarkable game played by Mark both fascinates and puzzles me. Let's see what happened... | Read More

  • Test Your Stalemate Skills!

    During the past several weeks we had a big discussion about stalemate. I hope from now on you won't allow your opponent to miraculously escape when you are winning and also won't miss your last chance to save the game when you are losing. Tod... | Read More

  • It's a Miracle! Part 4

    Last week we discussed a very important role of a stalemate in many endgames. Believe me or not, but a stalemate can be very useful in openings too. Say, you want a draw and your opponent doesn't mind too, but the pesky Sofia rule doesn't allow yo... | Read More

  • It's a Miracle! Part 3

    Stalemate is a vital part of many theoretical endgames. For example the whole defensive mechanism in such a basic position as king and pawn vs. king is based on a stalemate: Image: Thoughts from the Line Here is a bunch of imp... | Read More

  • It's a Miracle! Part 2

    Last week we saw violent outbreaks of stalematis in the games of Kasparov and Reshevsky. One of the most curious cases of this infectious disease happened in the games of another famous world class player, Mikhail Chigorin. Look at the position th... | Read More

  • It's a Miracle!

    Imagine a chess position where you have almost your whole army and your opponent has just a lonely king. The game is practically over and yet he just keeps playing. Even if you blunder some of your pieces and pawns, there is still no chance for hi... | Read More